LABELS OF LOVE
GERRY LOVES RECORDS We bet Gerry Love loves Gerry Loves Records. Launched in April 2010 by childhood friends Paddy Berry and Andy Lobban (of alt-pop webfest Off the Beaten Tracks), the Edinburgh DIY imprint specialises in gorgeous vinyl products – as inspired by Motown, Creation, Factory and a certain Teenage Fanclub kingpin. Lobban reveals their masterplan . . .
What records have you released so far? ‘We’ve done three vinyl split releases: Conquering Animal Sound/Debutant; Trapped in Kansas/Yahweh; The Japanese War Effort/Fox Gut Daata/Miaoux Miaoux/Wounded Knee.’
What’s your vision for Gerry Loves?
We want to promote bands that need and deserve it and we want to produce beautiful, handcrafted products – to provide a tangible document of art, which is something we’re in danger of losing in the digital age. But we’re not technophobes: we love our iPods and the opportunities that the internet gives us – we do most of our promotion and sales on the web – and we offer a free download with all our records at the time of purchase.’
How can a vinyl label thrive in the digital age?
‘The web offers some real power to market music to smaller groups of people effectively – we’ve seen streaming and free downloads help our sales. And I think there’s a good market for small labels doing short runs with nice packaging. I’m not sure there’s much money in it though: our label is an expensive hobby rather than a viable business, and I don’t really see that changing.’ How important is your visual aesthetic?
Very important. We fell in love in music as an all- round package. Music is a living, breathing thing, and art and design is a big part of that. The visual identity that Peter Saville created for Factory or that Vaughan Oliver did with covers at 4AD is arguably as important to those labels as some of the music they’ve released.’
What’s coming up on Gerry Loves? More gigs, more releases and we want to experiment with different models of selling things. Lots of ideas – keep an eye on our website for details as they emerge!’ (Nicola Meighan) ■ www.gerrylovesrecords.com
64 THE LIST 6–20 Jan 2011
Sung in both French and English by Alary and regular collaborator Darcy Conroy, the record flits with beautifully calm assurance between otherworldly sound experiments with the Gallic oddity of a Caro and Jeunet film (‘Valse Des Objets Trouvés’, ‘Things I Forget’), electronic folk pieces (‘Imprints’) and exercises in relatively straightforward orchestral pop, with Conroy’s vocal lending them the air of Stereolab (‘Les Saisons Viennent’ and the title track). (David Pollock)
ALT-FOLK/ COUNTRY THE DECEMBERISTS The King Is Dead (Rough Trade) ●●●●●
The sixth album from The Decemberists is everything you would expect. Full of country- based stylings, the Portland five-piece present a coherent, well thought-out set of storytelling songs, with Colin Meloy’s knack for a lyrical narrative remaining intact. Featuring Americana’s go-to girl Gillian Welch and REM’s Peter Buck, this record feels deliberately uncomplicated. Mixing upbeat, intricate opuses with stripped-down ballads and lush instrumentation, the REM influence is audible in many tracks, including single ‘Down By The Water’. Yet, from harmonica-laden opener ‘Don’t Carry It All’ to the slide-guitar meanderings of ‘Dear Avery’, The King Is Dead (hi, Morrissey) is expertly executed, heartfelt, intimate folk. (Lauren Mayberry)
FOLK-POP EMMA’S IMAGINATION Stand Still (Polydor) ●●●●●
Emma Gillespie has been on a journey fit for any Hollywood
Shaped Box’, but doesn’t do much at all with Radiohead’s ‘No Surprises’. His own compositions are engaging, as are Lewis Carroll-inspired group compositions ‘Follow The White Rabbit’ and ‘White Rabbit Robot’. (Kenny Mathieson) JAZZ RACHEL MUSSON’S SKEIN Flight Line (F-IRE Presents) ●●●●●
This could easily have slipped under the radar, but like much on the F- IRE Collective label, Welsh saxophonist Rachel Musson’s debut album is worth checking out. She has studied with saxophonist Julian Siegel and worked with drummer Seb Rochford (who wrote the liner notes here), and while both those inputs are apparent, her music has an original twist that augers well for her development.
Skein features the suggestive, deftly coloured piano work of Alcyona Mick and two drummers, Josh Morrison and the more free-ranging Javier Carmona, with Will Collier on bass. The group’s interplay is always intriguing, and Musson’s tenor saxophone is a strong, vital presence throughout a set of her own exploratory compositions (and a nod to her roots on a version of John Davies’s ‘Swansea Town’). (Kenny Mathieson)
WORLD CESARIA EVORA Cesaria Evora & (Sony) ●●●●●
When she burst onto the scene 22 years ago ‘the barefoot diva’ put Cape Verde on the map, blowing everyone away, even though live on stage she could be stiff and diffident.
narrative, from busking on the Glasgow streets to TV talent show victory (she won Sky’s Must Be the Music) and subsequent major label deal. Her debut album, under the guise of Emma’s Imagination, offers less heart- swelling twists and turns but still manages to end up a notably worthwhile listen. Opener ‘This Day’
proves that dainty pop is Gillespie’s most profitable avenue, but ‘Puddy Muddle’, a quirky, smoothed-out dose of hypnotism, shows there can indeed be vibrancy in the mellow. There’s often little to be said for TV talent shows but it might have just given birth to Scotland’s next big hope. (Chris Cope)
JAZZ YARON HERMAN TRIO Follow The White Rabbit (ACT Records) ●●●●●
Yaron Herman was a promising basketball player for the Israeli junior national team until a knee injury ended his serious sporting ambitions. He turned instead – at the relatively advanced age of 16 – to piano, and has made a considerable impact on the international stage. This, his fifth album, reveals a maturing talent at work in the context of a responsive new contemporary trio with bassist Chris Tordini and drummer Tommy Crane.
His first album grabbed attention with unexpected pop covers, and he reprises that on a couple of tunes here. He gives a lyrical rather than angry spin to Nirvana’s ‘Heart
True, after her first irresistible albums her output became formulaic, adding her vocals to albums her team put together while she toured. Here however, Evora, now in her 60s, joins her remarkable voice with a Who’s Who of Latin, African and American stars (including Compay Segundo and Bonnie Raitt) for a set of beguiling Cape Verdean blues-style mornas and desert island songs that capture desire, yearning and love. The overall impact embraces a range of sublime voices celebrating this unlikely veteran star. (Jan Fairley)
WORLD FRUKO & JOE ARROYO The Very Best of Fruko & Joe Arroyo: Rebelión Tropical (Nascente) ●●●●●
A long shelf-life is the hallmark of great music and Rebelión Tropical maps how in the 1970s Julio Ernesto ‘Fruko’ Estrada and Alvaro José Arroyo González aka Mr Joe Arroyo pioneered the best Colombian tropical music ever. There’s nothing dated
here: just funky big- band brass riffs, irresistible percussion grooves, rubbery bass and seductive voices telling witty stories. They successfully absorbed a gamut of international US and Latin styles into unbeatable arrangements full of quality musicality. With Zumba’s distillation of salsa and cumbia into exercises grooves there’s still plenty of dancing to be done. (Jan Fairley)